DOWNEY – The City Council on Tuesday approved a 8.74-percent increase to trash collection fees for residential customers.
Starting immediately, garbage hauler CalMet Services Inc. will increase the average monthly residential trash bill from $14.31 to to $15.56 per month. The council also approved a 6.83-percent price hike for apartment buildings and the same increase for temporary roll-off bins, which are commonly used during construction projects.
CalMet has the right to annually raise its price, which allows the hauler to make up for increases in gas, labor or other costs, according to CalMet”s contract with Downey.
At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Councilman Mario Guerra said the city during negotiations two years ago agreed to allow CalMet to annually request rate increases.
“I just want to make it clear this was something this council agreed to back in 2009,” Guerra said.
Councilman Roger C. Brossmer said the city requires CalMet to justify price increases.
The contract limits the increase to 7 percent per year, but the city is allowing CalMet to go higher since the hike will only be enacted for the last eight months of the contract year, which ends March 31.
“Residents should know that 45 cents of that increase will go away next March,” said Bill Kalpakoff, CalMet’s general manager.
Downey resident Gill Hille protested the price hike.
“If you took the total residents of Downey, (CalMet) would be increasing their profit margin by over a million dollars, not including the commercial trash pick-up,” Hille wrote in a letter to the City Council. “Why would the city council approve ofan outside firm making that kind of profit from the residents of Downey?
Even with price jump, the rate paid by Downey residents would remain among the lowest in the area. Residents in most area communities typically pay anywhere from $18 to $30 each month for garbage collection, according to a survey of nearby cities.
“Downey has a good rate,” Kalpakoff said.
CalMet’s contract lasts until 2016, and has contracts in nine area cities, including Paramount and Cerritos.